Number of Israeli Women Murdered by Spouses/Partners Escalates Under Pandemic

Then the man said, “This one at last Is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called woman,  for from man was she taken.”




(the israel bible)

February 7, 2021

3 min read

Murders of Israeli women by their partners/husbands have produced shocking headlines in the past decade, but the economic and emotional pressures created by the current pandemic seems to have caused the human toll to surge in both the Jewish and Arab sectors. Over this past weekend, in the settlement of Na’aleh near Modi’in, a police officer named Amir Raz called a co-worker to tell him that he shot and killed his 35-year-old wife Diana while their four children aged seven to one year – who heard the shots and the tragic outcome, aged seven to one year – huddled upstairs. Prior to that call, he contacted his mother, asking her to pick up the children. Diane, who had posted on Facebook that her husband was an “amazing man,” had worked over the last 14 years as a professional counselor for thousands of women on abusive relationships. 

An amazing man.”

The alleged murderer later said upon his arrest: “I don’t know what went through my mind. It was not planned. I never treated her violently. The children were at home and saw everything,” he reportedly told investigators. It was not the first such tragedy connected to a police officer. Not long ago, the Lod District Court handed down a 29-year jail sentence to policeman Masresha Wasa who  his wife Angoach Malkmu Wasa in 2018 using his service pistol. Two of the couple’s three young children were in their Netanya apartment at the time. 

Last month, a 53-year-old woman in the Negev town of Yeroham was found dead from strangling after she was allegedly murdered by her husband, Scotty Newman, who claimed he committed the act due to “jealousy” and “not having anything to do” because he was unemployed because of COVID-19. 

In 2020, 21 women in Israel were murdered by their spouses/partners.

Against the background of the escalation of the phenomenon, researchers from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Beersheba led a study that examined gender differences in awareness of “red lights” foretelling possible violence in marital relationships. The study was led by Dr. Hila Riemer, adviser on gender equality to BGU’s president; Dr. Yael Sneh, a lecturer in the university’s psychology department; and Ronit Lev-Ari, a criminologist from the Beit Ruth Association for Girls and Young Women at Risk. The study, initiated by the Pi 7 Forum of women’s organizations founded by the Beersheba municipality and BGU, was conducted last November 2020 among a representative national sample that included 519 men and women over the age of 18. 

The findings showed that in the opinion of men and women, domestic violence is quite common, but regarding the general Israeli Jewish population, men thought that the phenomenon was significantly less common than women did. Regarding populations in specific sectors such as Arab families, in which “honor killings” have been all too common, both male and female respondents thought the phenomenon was equally common. 

Respondents were also presented with a number of male behavior patterns that constitute “red lights” in violent relationships such as possessiveness, verbal violence, excessive suspicion, isolating women, constant criticism, showing lack of respect for the wife, forcing sex on women, having a short fuse and more. All the women respondents said that behaviors were a sign of a pattern of violence, but men were less likely to think so. In other words, it is evident that men are relatively lenient in defining patterns of behavior that indicate violence. In addition, it was found that both men and women were more “forgiving” of “violence in the guise of love,” such as excessive jealousy. 

In the questionnaire, those surveyed were presented with a number of possible pieces of advice for a woman living in a violent relationship. Participants were asked to rate each piece of advice and decide whether it was excellent, bad or mediocre advice. Among about 70% of the respondents, the advice to “leave your spouse immediately” was rated in first place. According to the researchers, this finding indicates that there is a consensus that a violent relationship should not be allowed to continue, but at the same time, this finding in itself constitutes a “red light,” since separating only when the husband has already been violent involves danger, and women need professional guidance.

It was also found that men suggested that both husband and wife go for therapy as a preferred solution, even though this is less effective and may even be harmful in the face of violence, while women were in favor of the husband going for psychological treatment.

– Only about half of the men and women who responded to the survey thought that turning to the welfare services in the country was excellent advice; the other half thought that it was bad or mediocre advice. Both women and men thought that it would be advisable for a woman suffering from or threatened by partner violence to leave home for a women’s shelter or consult one of the women’s organizations that help victims of violence. Both women and men expressed confidence in the police and believed that contacting the police was good advice. 




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